This month we’ve been learning about initiative, seeing what needs to be done and doing it. Rather than discovering what initiative looks like through a different passage of Scripture each week, September’s sole focus is a guy named Nehemiah. As we explore the book of Nehemiah, we find an individual who had a good job (although potentially fatal) and what seems like a pretty good life, but when he received word that the wall around Jerusalem was still a pile of rubble and the people there were in desperate need of help, Nehemiah took action. He could have sat back and left the problem for someone else. After all he wasn’t living in Jerusalem, and as a cup bearer he probably had little to no skill in repairing city defenses. However, he allowed none of that to stop him from taking initiative, rebuilding the city’s wall, and helping the people of Jerusalem.
In Week 1, our Bible focus was Nehemiah 1:1 – 2:9 wherein Nehemiah heard about the wall. Our Bottom Line was “Be on the lookout for what needs to be done”, and we asked “What around you needs to be done?”.
Week 2 was all about Nehemiah planning to rebuild the wall (Nehemiah 2:11-18). Our Bottom Line was “Don’t wait for someone else to do what needs to be done”, and we asked “What keeps you from doing what needs to be done?”.
Our Week 3 lesson featured Nehemiah pausing work on the wall to help Jerusalem’s poor in Nehemiah 5:1-12. This week our Bottom Line is “Don’t wait for someone else to help people in need”. The Week 3 Key Question is “Who do you see being treated unfairly?”.
In Week 4, we’ll learn about Sanballat’s efforts to distract the people of Jerusalem from their work on the wall (Nehemiah 2:19-20, 4, 6). Our Key Question asks “What distracts you from doing what needs to be done?”, leading us to consider when and where we let Sanballats of our own draw our attention away from the tasks ahead of us. Our Bottom Line reminds us to “Stay focused on what needs to be done”.
Finally, we wrap up the month in Nehemiah 3-4, 6:15-16, 8:1-17. The wall is completed in 52 days, and the people gathered together to hear the word of the Lord and celebrate what God had done. Week 5’s Bottom Line is “Look for ways to celebrate what God has done.” “What is God doing in your life that you can celebrate?”
Each week we are reminded that when we take initiative, we should act with all of our heart!